Tuesday, 27 February 2024
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Local Sports News
Final Friday Night Fever: Regional Round Edition with Previews & Predictions
By Brandon Tadtman, Jared Sleppy, Justin Fluke
Copyright: MSC Sports

2022 Pick Records


Last week: 21-4
Overall: 163-28
Last season: 158-31


Last week: 21-4
Overall: 164-27
Last season: 157-32


Last week: 20-5
Overall: 146-45
Last season: n/a

Games to be Broadcast

Troy at St. Mary’s – KNZA 103.9 FM
Rossville at Nemaha Central – KMZA 92.1 FM
St. James Academy at Atchison – KAIR 93.7 FM (Thursday)
Jeff County North at Centrlia - KAIR 3.7 FM 
Bishop Ward at Holton – Holton Channel
Riley County at Sabetha – Sabetha Channel



(6-3) Burrton at (7-2) Wetmore @ 6:00 PM

The Burrton Chargers bounced back after a rough game against Altoona-Midway with a 73-24 opening round playoff win at home last week against Southern Coffey County. Burrton has averaged an absurd 72.7 points per game in their six wins. However, in their three losses, they average just 6.3 points per game. Two of their three losses have come against currently ranked top-five teams.

Wetmore has been one of the best stories across the state going from consistent losing seasons to a breakout season this year finishing 6-2 during the regular season. The Cardinals will now enter the postseason to prove that they are more than just a story. They had a bye last week, and they will try to keep their offense rolling. They were able to score 30+ points in every game against Kansas opponents. These two teams are new to each other as they have not played this millennia.

Brandon’s Pick: Wetmore
Justin’s Pick: Wetmore
Jared’s Pick: Wetmore

8-Man II

(4-5) Frankfort at (7-2) Lebo @ 6:00 PM  

The Lebo Wolves claimed the district 1 title with a perfect 5-0 record in district play in 2022. They have now won seven games in a row after starting the season 0-2. Lebo is playing in their fourth consecutive postseason. During that stretch, they have won two of their last three regional games.

The story of this Frankfort team has been bouncing back. They started the season 0-3, but they bounced back and won three straight. After that, they finished the season losing their last two, but they bounced back again to win a road playoff game. They defeated St. John’s-Tipton 48-28 in dominant fashion to advance to regionals for the fourth time in the last five years. They will look to play an 11th game in a season for the first time since 2009. Frankfort has won two of the last three in the series against Lebo. The Wildcats won the last meeting in 2020 by a score of 45-40. The last time Lebo defeated Frankfort was in 2005.

Brandon’s Pick: Lebo
Justin’s Pick: Lebo
Jared’s Pick: Lebo

(5-4) Hanover at (9-0) Canton Galva   

Hanover have now won five of their last six games since starting the season 0-3. They opened the playoffs last week with a 62-14 win over Lakeside-Downs. The only loss for the Wildcats in this six-game stretch was against the defending champs in Axtell on October 7th.

If the Wildcats want to advance, they are going to have to get through one of the best in the Classification in the Eagles of Canton Galva. Canton Galva is the #2 ranked team in 8M-II behind only Axtell. Canton Galva has not been tested all season. The Eagles closest game was week one against Little River and that was a 66-36 final. They have outscored their opponents 498-54 with six shutouts this season. They beat St. Paul in the playoff opener last week 60-0.

Brandon’s Pick: Canton Galva
Justin’s Pick: Canton Galva
Jared’s Pick: Canton Galva

(4-6) Central Christian 0 at (10-0) Axtell 50 - THURSDAY

Another halftime mercy rule victory for the defending 8M-II Champs on Thursday night as Axtell beat Central Christian 50-0. The Eagles extend their winning streak to 23 and move onto the Sectional round next week. The Eagles will play the winner of Osborne and Colony-Crest.

Brandon’s Pick: Axtell
Justin’s Pick: Axtell
Jared’s Pick: Axtell


(8-1) Troy at (7-2) St. Marys – KNZA 103.9 FM    

Troy continued their dominant stretch of play last week with a 59-14 first round playoff win at home against Mission Valley. The Trojan hung up 40+ points in the first half and was able to cruise the rest of the way. They have now won five straight games since the lone loss of the season against Centralia. Senior quarterback Reagan Hartman has thrown for over 2,000 yards and 37 touchdowns this season. Jerrit Norris has 713 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. Boden Benitz has 662 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. Austin Grable has added 460 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. The Trojan’s defense has forced 29 turnovers with 14 fumble recoveries and 15 interceptions.

Troy head coach Derek Jasper noted that St. Marys is arguable the best team that they have faced to this point this year. The Bears come into this matchup at 7-2 and they dispatched Jackson Heights in the playoff opener last week 46-14. The game was close at halftime, but St. Marys was able to pull away from the Cobras in the second half. The Bears are led by standout quarterback Keller Hurla along with a talented group of wide receivers. St. Marys was K-Preps preseason #1 team in Class 1A.

This is a battle of two top-five teams in Class 1A and one of the more intriguing games in the 1A Regional round. This will be the first meeting between Troy and St. Marys since 2008. The Bears won that game in the playoffs 36-9.

Brandon’s Pick: Troy
Justin’s Pick: St. Marys
Jared’s Pick: Troy

(6-3) Jefferson County North at (9-0) Centralia   

Jefferson County North was able to get a big win in their playoff opener last week as they dominated Riverside 64-22. They led 52-8 at halftime and racked up over 500 yards of total offense. Led by a recent athlete of the week in Ethan Noll who tallied five touchdowns and 163 rushing yards. Grady Noll has rushed for nearly 1,200 yards this season and 18 touchdowns while adding over 400 passing yards and six more scores.

The Centralia Panthers ended McLouth’s season last week by a final score of 48-8 to continue their perfect 2022 season. The middle of the season wasn’t dominant for Centralia with week’s 3-7 having a margin of victory of just 11 points per game, but they have been able to get blowouts now in back-to-back weeks outscoring their last two opponents 107-24. The Panthers are hoping to make it to the sectional round for the fifth time in the last six years.

Centralia has won the last five meetings against Jefferson County North dating back to 2004. The Panthers have outscored the Chargers the last two seasons 66-12.

Brandon’s Pick: Centralia
Justin’s Pick: Centralia
Jared’s Pick: Centralia


(3-6) Riley County at (7-2) Sabetha – Sabetha Channel  

Riley County was able to get to this game against Sabetha after they defeated powerhouse Silver Lake in the playoff opener last week 23-21. Prior to that win over the Eagles, the Falcons had lost three of their last four games including 35-0 at home against Sabetha on September 30th. The other two wins for Riley County this season were against Royal Valley and Horton.

Sabetha bounced back in a big way after the regular season finale loss to Nemaha Central as the Bluejays beat ACCHS in the playoff opener last week 35-6. Sabetha’s lone two losses this season are against Nemaha Central and Holton who are two of the best in the state and have a combined record of 17-1. Sabetha remains a top-five team in 2A according to K-Preps at #4 this week. Nemaha Central is still ranked #2 behind Southeast of Saline.

This will be the second meeting between the Falcons and Bluejays this season. Sabetha has won five of the last seven meetings against Riley County including the last two. Riley County’s lone two wins in that span were in 2010 and 2011.

Brandon’s Pick: Sabetha
Justin’s Pick: Sabetha
Jared’s Pick: Sabetha

(5-4) Rossville at (9-0) Nemaha Central – KMZA 92.1 FM   

The Rossville Bulldogs are looking to defend their state title, but they have had some bumps in the road this season. They began the year 2-4, but their losses were against powerhouses St. Mary’s, Hayden, Silver Lake, and Holton. They were able to win their next three including a 57-6 home playoff win against Minneapolis last week.

The Nemaha Central Thunder didn’t miss a beat last week getting their second largest margin of victory in their 74-6 opening playoff round game against Pleasant Ridge. Cooper and Carter Hajek both scored two touchdowns. Cooper only ran it seven times as the senior was able to get some rest for most of the second half. Quarterback Brayden Uphaus was only called on to throw it seven times in which he completed five passes including a touchdown. Nemaha Central will hope to get to the sectionals for the sixth time in the last eight years. The Thunder have struggled to beat Rossville losing five of their last six meetings going back to 2013. They have played in each of the last four seasons including tonight’s game with each meeting coming in the playoffs. Nemaha Central’s last win was a 29-21 victory in 2019.

Brandon’s Pick: Nemaha Central
Justin’s Pick: Nemaha Central
Jared’s Pick: Nemaha Central


(7-2) Bishop Ward at (8-1) Holton – Holton Channel  

Holton won their eighth game in a row and rested their starters the entire second half after going ahead 49-0 in two quarters against Santa Fe Trail last week. The Wildcats had six offensive drives and didn't even need a third play on any drive to score a TD. They held the Chargers to 46 total yards and just two first downs plus added a defensive score. Matt Lierz tossed a trio of touchdown passes for the second straight game. 9 of Lierz's 11 completions have now gone for scores this season. Jackson Bear caught two of those last week while Garyson Booth had the other and leads the Cats with 1,052 yards rushing on just 74 carries (14.2/tote). Jakari Washington added a pair of rushing scores for Holton who is averaging 45 points per game as well as 420 yards per game and over 10 yards per play this season.

Bishop Ward has had a great season and comes in 7-2 after defeating Perry Lecompton 32-6 last week for their fifth consecutive win. The streak started for the Cyclones by beating the other common opponent, Santa Fe Trail 55-28 and Ward's only two losses came to unbeaten Wellsville 38-21 and Frontenac 12-10. The Cyclones have come along way since breaking their 57-game losing streak in 2020 with wins against McLouth and Royal Valley.

Ward is led by Brice Johnson, Jr. who has ran for more than 1,000 yards this season and also leads the team in receiving with more than 30 catches and 300 yards. Sophomore QB Aiden Milliren averages better than 180 yards passing per game.

Holton won their first playoff game against Bishop Ward in the late 90s and beat them 40-22 in their last matchup in 2006. Sidenote: Holton will be honoring their 2012 undefeated state championship team on Friday night.   

Brandon’s Pick: Holton
Justin’s Pick: Holton
Jared’s Pick: Holton


(6-4) St. James Academy 42 at (9-1) Atchison 17 – THURSDAY

St. James Academy and Atchison played on Thursday night with St. James Academy getting the win 42-17. The Phoenix hung tough in the first half trailing just 21-17. Trey Carter had a couple first half touchdown passes with one going to Brenden Martin and the other going to Adam Molt which went for 79 yards.

St. James Academy would take advantage of Atchison turnovers in the second half and was able to pull away for the win. Atchison suffers its first loss of the season in their last game of the season.

St. James Academy advances to the Sectional round next week and will travel to St. Thomas Aquinas.

Brandon’s Pick: St. James Academy
Justin’s Pick: St. James Academy
Jared’s Pick: Atchison

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Hiawatha, KS 66434
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